Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Morning at the Barrie's

Well, as you have probably figured out by now I am not as good about updating the blog as I was in China. I guess if I was up at 3am here like I was over there, that would help. I wanted to upload this video of Molly's first Christmas experience. It was quite overwhelming for her. We gave her about 8 or 9 gifts and ended up letting her hold on to about 2 of them. By 10am she resembled a crazed junkie and so we quickly put away the smaller items and left her with her kitchen and her scooter..both which she loves. We woke up...did the present thing and had a nice quiet day...just the family. Rob cooked up a Christmas meal for us and we spent the day playing with our new toys.

On the hearing front we have continued to make phone calls in an attempt to get a handle on where Molly's hearing really is. One would think that this is a fairly simple request for information. My daughter is deaf, what can we do to find out where her hearing level is? The last place we took her told us it would take months and months of testing to determine this..and it would all be based on a behavioral response. We called another audiologist who said that she could see Molly at the end of January back in Birmingham but that she would be running the same behavioral test as well. An ABR is objective but requires testing for her being a sedation risk and hours of no food and water and sedation obviously. An OAE is pass/fail and doesn't really give you any information at all except what we already know...Molly has a hearing loss. So here we sit...home for a month and a half and we dont have any more information on where she is than we did when we left. We have experts in audiology, speech therapy, and auditory/verbal therapy all telling us what we HAVE to do and all experts in their fields and their advice all conflicts with one another. We are more dazed and confused than ever. The A/V therapy calls for a discontinuation of signing as a form of communication but every parent of a deaf child I have spoken with tell me that when they did that it was a complete disaster and quickly went back to signing. Speech therapists have also seconded the opinion that communication is key, signed or verbal.

All we want to know is how deaf she is and so we hope to find someone at some point who can help us answer that question that doesn't take us driving two hours every three months to put Molly in a booth and hope she reacts the right way.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Barrie Bunch

Well, it is almost time for Santa to pay us a visit. We are just about ready for bed around here and looking forward to Christmas tomorrow. Poor Molly has no idea what is going on. I hope she doesnt wake up tomorrow and think that this kind of thing happens every month!

Merry Christmas from the Barrie's!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The hits just keep coming...

WOW. Just got a call from the hearing place and they said that they could get us in for an appointment at the end of March for the next in a series of endless tests . Great. Thanks! There is nothing we would rather do then sit here for another three or four months so that we can drive to Birmingham and try to get Molly to react to sounds. Fabulous.


Well, we have been holding our breath for this date. Why? Because this was going to be the day that we found out exactly how deaf Molly is...or so we thought. What did we know before the appointment? Well, we knew that Molly had a hearing loss somewhere in the 60 - 85 db level. That much we knew or at least suspected from living with her for these past few weeks. So after waiting all this time, driving two hours to Birmingham and going through their "intensive" hearing evaluation we now know that Molly has a hearing much? We don't know? Is one ear better than the other? We don't know? Can she or will she be able to understand speech? We don't know? How much do her hearing aids actually help her? We don't know? Is she a candidate for cochlear implants? We don't know. Basically nothing was resolved. None of our questions were answered. We are exactly where we were and have been since we got Molly.

What we do know is that when she hears a sound sometimes she will choose to react to the sound and sometimes she doesn't. We also know that putting a little girl who doesn't speak or understand English in a sound booth and then saying over a speaker "Molly, look over here" doesn't get a reaction either. We are not even sure she knows her name is Molly.

Then they tell us that we can come back in a month to test her again..same test..but the test depends on Molly's decision to turn her head to a sound or isn't based on what she can hear. So...if Molly isn't tired or Molly isn't bored by turning her head toward a speaker or if Molly isn't too engaged in the toy she is playing with during the test, we will get some results....and then again..maybe we wont...then we will wait another month...and so it goes.

What is next is we try to find another audiologist that is closer to home to do this testing. This wasn't much more than what we got in China when the doctor put the squeeky toy behind Molly's ear to see if she reacted. Why drive two hours to do that?

Monday, December 15, 2008

A very LATE update...

Sorry to drop off the planet on these updates...ugh...where does the time go. So lets see...what new party tricks has Molly picked up. She is doing great by the way and completely comfortable here. We are still limiting her access to people and can already see a difference by doing so.
She is very verbal and so far is attempting to say Flower, Mom ( which she says quite well!), Dad, No ( another word she has mastered), and more. Just a few days ago after putting in her hearing aids, she walked up to me pointing to her left ear saying" More, more, more..." I took out her aid to find that the battery had died and wasn't working. Very smart girl! She signs two and three word sentences and her favorite so far is Good Girl. She can read lips really well! If I say Good Girl to her, she will sign it right back to me.

We are not claiming to be audiologists, but she has definite hearing. I dont know how much..we will find out this Friday after our big hearing exam! She responds and signs her name, signs, mom, dad, Robby, jack, school, bed, toilet, more, bath, eat, drink, milk, juice, gentle, silly, play, airplane, ball....and Im sure Im forgetting several more. We are so anxious to get to her hearing evaluation and find out what her future she deaf, hard of hearing, are implants an option, do we just need to get her better hearing aides? A lot of questions are just a few days from getting answers and that will help me sleep better at night.

We will get a good idea on her age once we return for the second part of her physical exam in January. That appointment we will get the results of all the blood work, and everything else they checked out. Her eye exam is tomorrow and we will be heading to the dentist at some point soon as well.

She is doing great with her brothers...she and Jack are starting to compete a bit which is a good sign..and her and Robby are as close as any two siblings can be. She loves her brothers and is constantly signing "Where Jack?" "Where Robby?"

Christmas has been low key for us this year. We have decided to skip all the traditional holiday decorations around the house and just put up a tree and stockings. Who has the time to decorate? Not me!

I will definitely post updates once we get back from the hearing stay tuned. Here are some pictures and video to satisfy you until then! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

One month ago today

It is hard to believe that just one month ago today we met Molly for the first time. It seems like we have had for so much longer...yet, here we sit on December 9 and what a transformation we have had as a family.

Molly's progress has been mind blowing. You would never guess that she was raised anywhere else? We are so grateful for her progress and attitude. She loves her brothers, is very attached to mom and has even taken to dad quite well. She runs errands with me without complaint and obeys when corrected. She sleeps through the night in her own bed and has adapted to the boys schedules without a problem. Her communication with us has been seamless. We are all signing and pointing and we havent had any problems trying to figure out what she wants when she wants it. She has completely abandoned her rice/noodle diet and now eats everything put in front of her. Not to say we dont have your typical "2-year" old moments but she is a lot less trouble than her older brother Jack was at this age!!! The great thing is that her behavior IS typical...the deafness has not presented a problem or the fact that we are the third family she has accepted as her it is nice to notice that her behavior is typical of what you would see from any 2 year old who doesnt get their way. We are continually amazed!

The only thing that hasnt gone smoothly is the transition with Maggie, our dog. She is just kind of freaked out by her...but even that has subsided a little...but that is hardly a complaint, now is it?

Anyway, not a whole bunch to report. Molly's grandparents are headed back to San Diego so we are back to following our normal routine from before we left and she has taken to it quite well.

Thanks for visiting the blog!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Update on Molly's big physical exam!

Greeting Sports Fans!

Just an update on our day at the WONDERFUL International Adoption Clinic. How lucky are we to live close enough to such an incredible resource? As soon as we got there a counselor came and talked with me about her much as we know about our time was in China, what behaviors she exhibited there and at home, how she is doing here, how she is eating, how she is get the idea. She was not only a counselor but had two adopted daughters and it was so nice to talk through all of this with someone who could tell us what to worry about and what not to. She, along with the TWO physicians we saw were amazed at how well she had adapted and how outgoing she was. Frankly, we are too! She did see a few behaviors that told her that Molly was using to cope with the loss of her foster mom but that were completely normal. She has some OCD tendencies and she is hyper alert to everything going on around her. Both these behaviors are completely normal for what this girl has gone through and she assured us that we will start to notice how the will diminish over the next three to six months. Her OCD behaviors have already started to do so since I tend to agree with her.

She has been such an easy kid and adapted so well that we were a little "free" with who held her and how much time was spent doing so and this, as she explained to us, was not doing the best thing for her. So from now on until we start seeing some specific behaviors we need to watch for, we will be the only ones holding, carrying, comforting her. Friends and family are not off limits...but play will be restricted to group play with the brothers and holding times will only be out of necessity. The counselor thinks that will really help with her bonding and attachment to us as parents...not that it has been an issue...but Im going to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. We have seen some behavior with regards to friends leaving the room that we would not consider typical of a girl this age so this will be a priority. Other than that they said she is doing AMAZING and that her constant nagging for food will also slow down with time...and just to give her what she wants, with regards to food, when she wants. That is fine, but Im not giving her cookies at 6:30 in the morning!

After the psychological exam, we had the medical exam. The doctor looked at everything and based on her best guess determined that the date chosen as her birthdate by the doctor in China is not even close to being correct. She ordered a bone analysis so that we could try to get a better estimate of her true age. We will get the results as our next visit. We also found that that MOlly has an ear infection...good info to have so we were able to also get her on an antibiotic. We were then off to the LAB for the multiple test tubes of blood that were needed for all the different tests. She didnt even flinch. What a trooper! Rob and I are looking forward to getting the results back after Christmas and praying for a clean bill of health! In just a few weeks we will be heading up that way again for her full hearing evaluation at the hear center.

Well, that is it! That was my day! Big thanks go out to Tracy and Toni for taking care of the boys while we were off getting this evaluation done. Thanks ladies!!!! You are both awesome!